February 19, 2014 - 16:46 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net - Changes in Russian legislation aimed to toughen
migration rules will negatively affect the situation in Armenia,
the head of the Republican Union of Employers said, according to
Armenia Today.

According to Gagik Makaryan, there's no reason to hope that any
exceptions will be made for Armenian citizens. "We're talking here
of 170 thous. Armenian citizens now deprived of a right to work in
Russia. The return of 70-100 thous. of those will lead to soaring
unemployment, decrease in foreign transfers and income levels, which,
in turn, will impact the purchasing power and sales. In other words, an
upsurge in poverty and public discontent would be in order," he said.

According to Makaryan, Armenian leadership seems to be overly calm in
the face of the prospect described. "It's unclear whether it's because
the situation is under control or the issue is being neglected,"
he concluded.

Russia banned entry to 31,5 thous. Armenians as of February 10,
a migration policy officer at the Russian embassy in Armenia said.

According to Svetlana Stepanova, the figure includes 23,4 thous.

Armenians banned from Russia in 2013 and 8,1 thous. this year.

"170 thous. more are included in the risk group," Stepanova said.

"These are the citizens who've exceeded the allowed duration of stay,
haven't received a work permit, and continue living in Russia. Once
they cross the border, their entry to Russia will be automatically
prohibited," she added.

According to Stepanova, 464 thous. foreigners were blacklisted by
Russian migration authorities, 422 thous. of them CIS citizens. A
total of 573 thous. people were on the blacklist as of February 2014.

A total of 670 thous. Armenian citizens traveled to Russia in 2013,
up 20% from a year earlier period (540 thous.) The number of Armenian
nationals officially employed in Russia grossed 130 thous. in 2013,
up 4% from the 2012 data.

In early 2014, amendment to the laws on entry and exit from Russia
and legal status of foreign citizens in Russia became effective,
permitting a 90 day visa-free stay during each period of 180 days.

According to Stepanova, the embassy briefing aims to familiarize
Armenian population with the amendments to the laws. "After the period
of 90 days the visitor should be registered, receive a work permit
or a patent. The rule doesn't cover students or those undergoing
treatment in Russia. Should a foreigner fail to meet the demands,
he must leave the country and is allowed to return only after 180 days.

If the permitted period was exceeded, the foreigner will be denied
entry into Russia for a period of three or five years from the date
of departure from Russia," she noted.

From: A. Papazian